Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Suzanne Lease

Committee Member

Christian Mueller

Committee Member

Douglas Strohmer

Committee Member

Sami Yli-Piipari


The National College Athlete Association (NCAA) reports ever-increasing numbers of students participating in collegiate sports. As the demand for and intensity of collegiate sports continue to grow, there is a need to understand the sport enviornment and assist in the development of environments conducive to the well-being of student-athletes. This study used the vocational and industrial-organizational theory of person-environment fit to concptualize the collegiate sport environment as it shares numerous characteristics with a work environment. This study examined the relationships between the perceived cohesion student-athletes experience with their coaches and teammates and their motivation to perform. The impact of three moderators (athletic identity, sex, and sport type) on the cohesion - motivation relationship was also examined. Using data collected from 219 male and female collegiate student-athletes, hierarchical multiple regressions tested the effects of the perceived coach-athlete relationship and team-athlete relationship on predicting athletes' motivation to perform as well as the moderating effects of athletic identity, sex, and sport type. The athletes' perceived coach-athlete cohesion, team-athlete cohesion, and athletic identity (i.e., the degree to which an individual identifies with the athlete role) predicted the intrinsic and self-determined motivation levels of student-athletes. Athletic identity moderated the relationship between perceived team-athlete cohesion and motivation; sport type moderated the relationship between perceived coach-athlete cohesion and motivation. For student-athletes who reported a low athletic identity, perceived cohesion with their team was more predictive of their motivation levels than it was for those who had higher athletic identity. The degree to which they perceived cohesion with coach was more strongly predictive of self-determined motivation levels for student-athletes of individual sports compared to student-athletes involved in team sports. Clinical implications of the findings and future research are discussed.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.